The 77th meeting of the WTO Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (the SPS Committee) was held in the period from June 24 to June 26. The meeting was conducted through video-conferencing.
The regular meeting of the official representatives of the WTO member countries was preceded by a thematic session during which the participants of the SPS Committee discussed the specific aspects of the application of sanitary and phytosanitary measures in the context of COVID-19 spread. The representatives of the Rosselkhoznadzor delivered an information report on the veterinary aspects of the coronavirus pandemic in the Russian Federation. The report noted that, in the context of the infection spread and the tightening of trading regime for food products both inside and outside the country, the Rosselkhoznadzor ensured safe conditions for uninterrupted supplies of agricultural raw materials and food products for the population, including the strict control of imported and exported products. The Rosselkhoznadzor subordinate institutions have developed a test system for COVID-19 detection in animals. To date, samples collected from 59 animals (dogs, cats, minks, lions, wolves, and hedgehogs) have been tested as part of risk assessment; SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection in a pet cat has been reported. No cases of animal-to-human transmission of the disease have been detected. At present, the Rosselkhoznadzor subordinate FGBI “ARRIAH” continues the research activities in cooperation with other scientific institutions, including the joint development of a pilot vaccine against COVID-19 for animals.
During the official meeting of the SPS Committee held on June 25 and 26, the Rosselkhoznadzor declared that the Russian Federation had been granted the OIE official statuses of a country free from contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) and a country free from peste des petits ruminants (PPR). This will contribute to increasing animal product exports.
Besides, the representative of the Rosselkhoznadzor expressed concern with respect to India’s import requirements regarding fumigation of grain and grain legumes using methylbromide. The Russian party pointed out that the current requirements of India concerning obligatory fumigation of grain with methylbromide were contrary to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer restricting its use, as well as affected the predictability and transparency of trade due to the absence of a final decision on the issue. The Russian Federation repeatedly proposed using alternative fumigants (phosphine) that ensure equivalent protection and are widely used internationally. In response to this, the Indian party expressed readiness to discuss this issue bilaterally and to provide a written reply to the latest request from the Rosselkhoznadzor dated September 2019.
Once again, the Rosselkhoznadzor raised the issue of Russian animal product export to India. The authority again requested from the Indian colleagues the import requirements for a number of animal products and India’s position regarding the possibility of recognizing the Russian Federation territory regionalization with respect to avian influenza. In addition, the possibility of agreeing veterinary certificates for the supplies of poultry meat and offal, as well as raw hides and skins from Russia was discussed. The Indian delegation representative explained that the said documents were under the consideration by the competent authorities. The Indian party requested additional information related to the possibility of poultry meat and offal supplies from Russia and expressed interest in bilateral cooperation on the subjects raised.
Regular meetings of the WTO Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures are held three times a year; the next meeting is to take place this autumn.